“This is an intensely practical and applicable book that helps Christians activate their God-given agency by seeing where God is at work and joining him in His quest to transform the world, inch-by-inch, in the context of everyday life. Dynamic!”
Author & Activist
From the introduction…
…Most believers hear and sing about God’s goodness, power and freedom every weekend in their church gatherings. A number give sacrificially so that the “Good News” can be shared by missionaries somewhere far away. But if honest, many would confess that they are desperate for an authentic Kingdom encounter. Many have settled for less than what is promised and provided for according to the Word of God.
What contributes to this situation? A primary factor is that many believers have little appreciation for just how good the Good News of the Kingdom really is. For these believers, Jesus’ startling announcement that, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” provokes little response, let alone the revolution he intended. Jesus taught that when a person discovers the Kingdom they respond like someone who has found a pearl of great worth or a hidden treasure in a field. Such a person joyfully rearranges their whole life around that incomparable discovery (see Matthew 13:44-46). As a pastor, professor and now missionary, I’ve found that people most often lack fascination for God’s Kingdom, along with having little desire to organize their lives around it, simply because they’ve never encountered it…
My hope is that those who read this book will grow to appreciate and experience the Kingdom life Jesus made possible…Here is an overview of each chapter:
Chapter 1 – The Kingdom Within Our Reach
Jesus reveals that the gospel is the good news that his Kingdom is now accessible to all because he has come. The Kingdom can be defined as the effectual rule of God, which exists wherever God is having his way. The ministry of Jesus has opened the way for anyone who positively responds to his call to experience God’s reigning presence in the here and now. Though Jesus has inaugurated the Kingdom of God at the time of his first coming, the Kingdom will not be consummated until his return. We currently live in the tension of the “now and not yet.” This theological tension helps us understand, for example, why we sometimes pray for the sick and they are healed, and other times we pray and they are not. This chapter will explore the meaning of the Kingdom now among us, and emphasize the benefit of experiencing its tangible reality in our daily lives.
Chapter 2 – Disciples of the Risen King
At the core of the Great Commission is the command of Jesus for believers to make more and better disciples of Jesus who will serve to advance his Kingdom. This, along with knowing and loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, is the central task of the spiritual life. A disciple is one who is learning to follow Jesus with the aim of becoming more like him in word and deed. While many seem to be looking for a quick and convenient way to grow spiritually, nothing short of Jesus’ approach to formation can produce faithful and fruitful followers of Jesus. Leaders who want a discipleship program that neglects a tangible relationship with those they are “discipling” will contribute little to their formation or the advance of God’s Kingdom. In this chapter, we will explore the critical components of an organic/relational approach to disciple formation, as well as the most common impediments to authentic spiritual growth.
Chapter 3 – Empowered by the Spirit
The example of Jesus and the early church as they advanced the Kingdom is unquestionably a concert of truth and power. As we read God’s Word, we discover the necessity of God’s power. As we encounter God’s power, we discover that our desire for God’s Word increases. Yet in the church today it seems many feel they must choose to emphasize either the truth of God’s Word or the experiential power of the Spirit in their ministry settings. Disciples of the Risen King must embrace both as they seek to fulfill their mission to make more and better disciples of Jesus and advance his Kingdom. This failure to pursue a functional balance between truth and power explains the impoverished spiritual life and shallow Kingdom impact that is currently the reality for many Christians and ministries today. This chapter will highlight the importance of both truth and power. It will also cast a vision for why this balance is necessary for authentic disciple formation and missional impact. It is time for us to live and serve as empowered evangelicals!
Chapter 4 – Physical Healing Today
The God who never changes is still in the business of healing the sick and setting the captives free. The ministry of physical healing was and is a core component of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yet few disciples today, especially in the Western context, have the same instinct of Jesus and the early Christians who offered to pray for the sick when confronted with the opportunity. In this chapter, we will consider the theological foundations for physical healing; the conditions conducive to divine healing; common questions regarding the ministry of healing; the relationship between the ministry of healing and discipleship; and how churches and individual believers can effectively minister to the sick.
Chapter 5 – Healing for the Broken Hearted
Though Jesus has placed his comfort, healing and inner freedom within the reach of anyone who would trust in him, many Christians today remain crippled by the failures and woundings of their past. The good news of Jesus Christ includes the healing of such pain. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1); yet the unfinished business of our inner lives inevitably becomes a huge encumbrance to the freedom that Jesus has made possible. This chapter will examine how to overcome past woundings and failures, along with the connected ailments of resentment, depression, fear and the common lies under which many people live.
Chapter 6 – Welcome to the War!
It is doubtful that many believers hear the words, “Welcome to the war” soon after crossing the line of faith into relationship with Jesus. But perhaps they should in light of the reality of our strategic enemy. It is dangerously naïve for a Christ-follower to believe that they cannot be a target of the devil and his minions. Believers must learn how to recognize and effectively renounce demonic footholds in order to get free, stay free and set others free. This chapter will examine how a person can be set free from demonic entanglements and become equipped to do the same for others.
Chapter 7 – Making Space for God
The initial response to God’s Kingdom invitation must be matched by a continuous cooperation with the demands of abiding under the rule of God. The call to the Kingdom is not first of all a call to power, a program, or even to Christian ministry. It is a call to love and follow Jesus Christ as his beloved friends. It’s a call to live in a continuous, willing surrender to the reigning presence of God. The Bible reveals that a life oriented as such is not only possible but is the promised destiny to all who would commit themselves to it. But such a life will never happen without humility, serious intention and effort. This chapter will help the reader know how to embrace the spiritual practices that serve to enable a fruitful abiding life with Christ.
Chapter 8 – Making Space for Friends
A faithful and fruitful life in the Kingdom is made possible by a relational miracle between God and man. That miracle is meant to be experienced and supported in our relationships with others. We must each be encouraged and held accountable along the way, yet far too many believers today live isolated Christian lives. Perhaps the reason for this is that connecting with others is often marked with challenges, disappointments and pain. This chapter will consider what it takes to cultivate supportive friendships. And friends in such a community must be available and vulnerable to one another with Christ kept at the center.
This book is unique in that it offers an important balance between the theological meaning and the practical implications of the fact that Jesus made his reigning presence accessible to all who would repent and believe. Every chapter will offer a creative movement between explanation, illustration and application. Perhaps the information covered in each chapter is not so much “new” but rather has been made newly accessible to thoughtful evangelicals who truly thirst for the Spirit and hunger for the Word. On the other hand, it may be new to those who have not seen a practical, theologically satisfying book addressing themes such as the Kingdom of God, discipleship, spiritual formation, healing, the power of the Spirit, and the mission of the church. I believe that The Life Jesus Made Possible can serve as a strategic resource for any individual with a desire for personal spiritual formation in their lives; for those who need a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand book for those they are discipling; for pastors who desire to equip and release the saints for ministry, spiritual renewal, and missional activation; for students pursuing ministry training and wanting to complement their more theoretical education with applied theology; for small groups to use as an interactive curriculum; and for ministry training centers that are developing the next generation of those who will courageously follow Jesus and serve to advance his Kingdom.
May God bless you with his renewing and empowering presence as you read this book. Are you ready to explore and experience the Kingdom within your reach? Assuming you are, let’s begin our journey to discover what it can mean to live the life Jesus made possible!